Names for Dogs

By J. Lang Wood

Naming your dog can seem a puzzling task, yet every dog gets a name somehow. Sometimes, friends or family help pick a name, and sometimes it's the dog itself that makes a name obvious. It's a good idea to test run a name for a few days to see if it sticks. If you're patient, a good name for your dog will come to you naturally and will fit perfectly.

Physical Description

Look at your dog objectively to see what stands out about its physical appearance. Does your dog or puppy have a prominent physical trait such as spots on its coat, a mask, white mittens on its feet, or a sweeping tail? Spot, Bandit, Mittens, or Feathers could be the right name.

Characteristic Names

Is your dog or puppy very affectionate, energetic, or perhaps very dignified and regal? Lovey, Pepper, or King might be good names to consider. Watching your dog's behavior will give you clues to its personality and what will be a good name. Or you can use your sense of humor to name your dog the opposite of what it seems, such as naming a lazy, low-key dog 'Flash.'

Breed-Specific Names

Names that particularly fit your breed of dog should be considered. If your dog is a Poodle, a French name like Pierre or Bijou might be in order. A German Shepherd might warrant a name like Kaiser or Gunter. An English Setter might be named Jasper or Lady Jane.

Famous Names

Many dogs have been named after famous people, Hollywood celebrities, or animals that have appeared in movies and TV shows. Many dogs have been named Lassie, Yeller, Napoleon, Otis, or Blue because of their famous counterparts on screen. Other dogs have been named from mythology, such as Zeus, Odin, or Juno. Still others are named after famous multiples, such as a pair of dogs named Romeo and Juliet or a trio of dogs named Curly, Larry, and Moe.

People Names

People names give dogs a more human quality and make them seem more like a friend than an animal companion. Names like Brian, Maggie, Max, and Sam are often popular with dog owners. Be careful before naming your dog after someone you know. It may seem like an honor to you, but sharing a name with an animal may not be an honor to the person.